Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Categories

Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition has been released! Visit www.planescape.com to purchase and check for details. Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition Official Soundtrack is available.
Soundtracks for BG:EE, SoD, BG2:EE, IWD:EE are now available in the Beamdog store.
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

SoD story discussion

SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,431
Hello all.

I waited a long time before I played SoD and I've waited an even longer time before writing here because I wanted you-know-what to die out first. I would like to discuss the main story and keeping the focus purely on that. There are a plethora of things I truly enjoyed with SoD, the areas being the most beautyfull ever in an IE game for example, but there was certain aspects of the main story I never could understand.

I don't read in-game books, that's just not the person I am. I read books IRL but when I play a game, I want the story to be more straight forward and spoonfed to me. With this said, there might be books in the game that shines some light in the story I haven't read, so have that in mind.

Obviously there will be spoilers in this thread. If you haven't played the game yet you should exit this thread now since I hope anyone who replies will write out parts of it in detail.


OK, so my crude summarization of the main story and the antagonist's purpose is this: Argent amasses an army to go to Dragonspear castle to free the souls of her dead father and the others. Her army moves through the country, slaughtering everything they see, pillaging, burning, plundering yet she sits on her high (moral) horse in all dialogues with CHARNAME.

I don't get this part of the story? I don't get how you can write an antagonist's purpose and reason to be this.. oxymoronic? I mean, kill thousands of innocents to save a few innocents? Sure, Hephernaan is there to fool her into this like a Grima Wormtongue, but still.. when I get the story told to me in the game it makes absolutely zero sense. It doesn't feel plausible or believable to me. Noone would act that stupid yet still sit on their moral throne looking down on others. I'm struggling to find the correct way in english to describe to you now what I mean by this statememt.

Why does this bother me? Well, I could have accepted the fact that the antagonist is deluded, cheated by her advisor and that the crusade has expanded and spiraled out of control. But then when CHARNAME get to talk to her, the conversation options offer plenty of opportunities to kinda agree to her, to make our CHARNAME almost agree to her cause even if we do not agree to her actions. Again, unbelievable. To me, that is. I mean, the cause is absolutely ridiculous and their can be no justification of it whatsoever. I would much have preferred that they had just portrayed her as completely deranged and mad rather than almost fully in control and that any dialogue choices for the CHARNAME reflected that.

OK, so now I want you to help me understand :) I have probably misunderstood or missed certain aspects of the story and need your help to understand it.


Thanks!
JuliusBorisovVitharThacoBelltypo_tillyIllustair
«134

Comments

  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,431
    Thanks for the reply @Ammar. I see what you mean, but I didn't see that reflected in the dialogues. Perhaps she is indeed more devious than what is shown on the top, but I've played through twice full ones and two-three partial playthroughs and I just don't see that. To me she is very one-dimensional because to me that's how she is portrayed. I'm not one of those who think BG1 is the best game in the world when it comes to the writing, but I do think that Sarevok being a brutish hulk of man on the outside but a devious, scheming plotter on the inside is fairly well portrayed even though those two dimensions are quite different, and to some extent, almost diametrical.
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 425
    She is a one-dimensional opponent and I never claimed that she was devious. She lies in one aspect in that she makes her followers thinks she wants to rescue their friends and families as well, but that is not a particular complex scheme.

    However, I do not think being one-dimensional is bad. I found Irenicus one-dimensional as well. The one-dimension just has to be well portrayed.
    SkatanThacoBell
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited April 4
    Skatan said:

    Thanks for the reply @Ammar. I see what you mean, but I didn't see that reflected in the dialogues. Perhaps she is indeed more devious than what is shown on the top, but I've played through twice full ones and two-three partial playthroughs and I just don't see that. To me she is very one-dimensional because to me that's how she is portrayed. I'm not one of those who think BG1 is the best game in the world when it comes to the writing, but I do think that Sarevok being a brutish hulk of man on the outside but a devious, scheming plotter on the inside is fairly well portrayed even though those two dimensions are quite different, and to some extent, almost diametrical.

    Inconsistency, thy name is Dragonspear. :)

    The problem is that on the one hand, we're meant to believe Caelar genuinely cares about her people - she writes personal letters of condolences to the families of the fallen soldiers, and at each confrontation she shows a measure of concern for those who follow her - but on the other hand, her plan is ultimately to turn her entire army into a meat shield so she can get her uncle back. She knew that all along, and lied to every single recruit. So is she callous with other people's lives as long as she gets what she wants, or is she a caring commander who feels the losses personally? Answer: whatever the story needs her to be at any given point.
    Skatan
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 425
    edited April 4
    At the danger of repearing myself, @shawne, this is understandable to me. She is callous with other lives because losing your live is not as bad as what happened to her uncle.

    I mean, I genuinely care about children, but if my child was sick and I just needed some small blood sample from a specific other child (so no permanent harm) and the other child's parents are not willing, I would not have qualms to take the blood sample myself by force.

    You can make the argument that eternal damnation of the soul is on a whole different scale than a simple death with a normal afterlife.

    It is similar to how I get Kaelyn in MotB. The Wall of the Faithless is just evil so large and everlasting that almost every sacrifice is worthwhile to take it down.
    Skatansemiticgodcbarker15
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    Ammar said:

    At the danger of repearing myself, @shawne, this is understandable to me. She is callous with other lives because losing your live is not as bad as what happened to her uncle.

    A justification that - while morally repugnant - would at least make internally-logical sense, except eternal damnation could very well be the fate of any soldier who actually followed her into Avernus. Soul migration works as advertised on the Prime, but if I remember my sources correctly it's entirely possible that dying in Baator or the Abyss could cause your soul to get snatched up by the natives. If even one person fell prey to a devil on Caelar's watch, that supposed rationale falls apart.
    ThacoBellSkatansemiticgod
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,142
    I don't think Caelar is supposed to look noble. She is singularly driven to the rescue of her uncle, everything else is just manipulation on her part. She was kicked out of the paladin order years ago, but she doesn't care. She thinks that because she is an Aasimar and an Argent, all of her actions are justified. She is an interesting foil to Sarevok. While Sarevok was also arrogant, he fully embraced his actions, justification didn't matter to him. Caelar on the other hand believes that everything she does is justified because of what she is. She is a reverse bhaalspawn.

    A lot of deal is made of the effect the divine blood has on a person. In-universe, its assumed that Bhaal's blood is the reason for Sarevoks bloodthirst. Caelar is the counter argument to this. She carries the blood of a good deity in her, yet she caused more widespread death and destruction than Sarevok. SOme things definitely could have been explained better (or at all unless I'm missing something) but the theme still comes through, and its pretty great.
    Skatanbrunardo
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,324
    Ammar said:

    At the danger of repearing myself, @shawne, this is understandable to me. She is callous with other lives because losing your live is not as bad as what happened to her uncle.

    I mean, I genuinely care about children, but if my child was sick and I just needed some small blood sample from a specific other child (so no permanent harm) and the other child's parents are not willing, I would not have qualms to take the blood sample myself by force.

    You can make the argument that eternal damnation of the soul is on a whole different scale than a simple death with a normal afterlife.

    It is similar to how I get Kaelyn in MotB. The Wall of the Faithless is just evil so large and everlasting that almost every sacrifice is worthwhile to take it down.

    She maybe callous with other peoples' live but it doesn't follow that the "other people" would be that happy about it or anybody accepting that as reasonable.

    And it needs far better writing/explaination for players who mainly come from cultures that don't have any real belief in a "normal afterlife". You can indeed make that argument, but then make it.

    That's where IMO, the writing fails. The idea that she would have support and respect from people when they have been killed and their homes burnt to the ground without anything that makes that believable.
    They wouldn't be calling her the "Shining Lady" (they would have had many choice names for her but not that).

    As charname, the only thing I want to say to her is "eff off you effing b****", the writing seems to imply that there would be some ambiguity about what I think of her. And that's annoying, no choice to abandon her and her stupid followers in hell to their own self made fate and instead concentrating on closing the portal with them inside, a la Demagorgan.








    Skatan
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,431
    Now we are really getting down to the core, to exactly the point I tried to make but couldn't really find the words for! She acts like she cares on the one hand, with the letters of condolences, then she doesn't give a rat's ass about the loss of thousands of innocent lives. Can we really chalk it all down to different kinds of deaths? Meaning the "normal" deaths of thousands are less worth than one uncle trapped in hell?
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,431


    That's where IMO, the writing fails. The idea that she would have support and respect from people when they have been killed and their homes burnt to the ground without anything that makes that believable.
    They wouldn't be calling her the "Shining Lady" (they would have had many choice names for her but not that).

    As charname, the only thing I want to say to her is "eff off you effing b****", the writing seems to imply that there would be some ambiguity about what I think of her. And that's annoying, no choice to abandon her and her stupid followers in hell to their own self made fate and instead concentrating on closing the portal with them inside, a la Demagorgan.

    Pretty much exactly what I feel as well. The whole crusade seem to misguided and her alias as well. And your comment about the lack of replies that actually should sum up what most charnames should think is also similar to what I wrote above.
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,431
    ThacoBell said:

    I don't think Caelar is supposed to look noble. She is singularly driven to the rescue of her uncle, everything else is just manipulation on her part.

    I like most of what you write @thacobell, but I don't agree to this point since her motives and goals are shown to us, the players, only very late in the game. In the first 80% of the game it's still shown as if she is honorable and has a just cause other and the dialogue trees reflect that. If CHARNAME would be given better choices of replies which would give me as a player the choice to take the debate about her just cause vs her injust actions, then I wouldn't mind because then it would become obiovus she only cares about one thing. But we never get the chance for that really, instead we get choices of dialogue where we can understand her cause, her actions and express some mild admiration almost and I still get the feeling that the main story is supposed to make CHARNAME feel ambivalent about the crusade yet me as a human player has 100% hatred towards it. There is nothing happening IN GAME that can make my charname EVER consider the cause to be just so why are the dialogue trees still reflecting that point?

    I don't want to say it's poor writing etc etc.. I just feel that as if one person wrote the main story and it's main plot points, but someone else entirely wrote the dialogues and the different characters. They are not aligned IMHO.
    ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,324
    Skatan said:

    Now we are really getting down to the core, to exactly the point I tried to make but couldn't really find the words for! She acts like she cares on the one hand, with the letters of condolences, then she doesn't give a rat's ass about the loss of thousands of innocent lives. Can we really chalk it all down to different kinds of deaths? Meaning the "normal" deaths of thousands are less worth than one uncle trapped in hell?

    It's "moral relativism" and it's rather popular in the world at the moment.

    Until of course the direction of travel needs to ignore it. Then we get Charname accused of murder and condemned in spite of having saved thousands, not once but twice.

    As you said,

    "Inconsistency, thy name is Dragonspear"
    AndreaColombosemiticgod
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,142
    @Skatan I definitely agree that the game doesn't always give satisfactory responses for charname.

    @UnderstandMouseMagic I always felt that it came back to the issue of blood. There is a lot of in-universe speculation about whether Caelar *really* is a villain. After all she has divine blood, she is an Argent, she is a paladin; shouldn't she be striving for good?

    Conversely we have charname, who (in the eyes of the people) is tainted by the blood of an evil god. Its clear double standard based solely on the characters origins, and not on their actions.

    The trial is bogus because the people look at your ancestry and assume guilt, whereas people flock to Caelar because of her ancestry/family name/class and struggle to resolve that with their pre-concieved notions.
  • VitharVithar Member Posts: 67
    edited April 5
    I think , the writers should 1st learn what the word ''Crusade'' means , then use it.

    Still , i think the game story is more than good (imho), should have been bigger and from a different Bhaalspawn PoV imho.

    From the other games(mostly rpgs) i see in the past several years , SoD is a blessing compared to them.
    Post edited by Vithar on
  • typo_tillytypo_tilly Member Posts: 5,010
    Is she a fallen paladin? *-) I mean, her intended quest is selfish and many people die from it.

    I thought it would've been better if her uncle had been trapped along with others, although in a particular dangerous area of hell (i.e., with a particular high ranking devil nearby), which makes the attack sheer folly but still gives her a small amount of justification in her actions.

    As for the start of the game, I'd have to read the chapter introductions again. However, I could imagine she would be going from town to town forcing people into her army. Also an army needs food, so out of necessity they would be taking (stealing! forcing!) food from each town, causing food shortages. Now, to me, that would make a good explanation of the refugees running to Baldur's Gate.
    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,142
    @typo_tilly They are pillaging villages as they pass through, that is where the refugees are coming from. The interesting part about it, is that some of the people whose homes are being destroyed are joining her crusade. Its implied that her entire army are nearly religiously devoted to her.
    typo_tillySkatan
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,324
    ThacoBell said:

    @typo_tilly They are pillaging villages as they pass through, that is where the refugees are coming from. The interesting part about it, is that some of the people whose homes are being destroyed are joining her crusade. Its implied that her entire army are nearly religiously devoted to her.

    It could be the interesting bit if it had spent some time exploring that aspect more. A chapter/episode where you came across some area the "crusade" had visited which had been witness to some miracle or event that inspired a religious fevour.

    Something (other than loud, uninspiring speeches to the masses) which illustrated her charisma/attraction to people.
    As it was, I found myself sitting there thinking, "what's this woman on about, she sounds deranged", and "how soon do I get to kill her?"

    typo_tillyIllustair
  • TheGreatKhanTheGreatKhan Member Posts: 104
    Of course her army is probably destroying property and hurting people. It's always been a bad time historically any time an army passes through your territory, friendly or not.

    As far as I'm aware as long as her people were religiously devoted, I don't think they would end up in the Hells if they died there.
    typo_tilly
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,142
    @UnderstandMouseMagic Yeah, there is a lot "telling" rather than "showing" in SoD. Its a little frustrating, even as someone who really enjoyed the story.
    Skatansemiticgod
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,431
    I think you all have good, valid points but I want to point out that my caveat with SoD and it's story is not the story itself but how it is portrayed in-game via movie sequences, text and dialogues.

    Of course a rampaging army will plunder and forage for food, how else would they survive when they don't have a city or state backing them? That's obvious and it's portrayed in the game good enough, like with the running refugees and the burned down inn etc.

    But what is not at all portrayed in-game is, just like you @ThacoBell and you @UnderstandMouseMagic say, why do everyone follow her and why the hell should CHARNAME think anything other than complete and utter loathing about her and her followers? I mean for god's sake, it's even considered the good option NOT to poison their food stores, right? As if the poor crusaders are somehow not evil bastards deserving death, just like any drow are to Keldorn. It's just weird.. and feel inconsistent.

    There's so many things about this game I loved, but on my last rushed playthrough I came to realize I fast-click through all interactions on the main story since it doesn't really add much..


    Except the event on the boerskyr bridge, I really like that!


    Anyways, I think I've said what I wanted now. I hope more people join in and give me their views on this specific topic. I've read many reviews by players here but not to many of them adress this specifically.

    Cheers mates!
    ThacoBell
  • filcat88filcat88 Member Posts: 115
    edited April 5
    The crusade followers are not evil, not all of them at least. They really believe that their actions are for the greater good. I mean: freedom for the poor souls trapped in the hell. That's a really good motivation if you think about it. And they have a aasimar leading. So it is quite understandable that so many good people are joining her. Caelal, because of her secret motivation, does not care about who join her army: goblonids, evil people and whatnot, the important thing for her are the numbers. On this matter, she is also manipulated by Hepheeran.
    ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,324
    edited April 5
    filcat88 said:

    The crusade followers are not evil, not all of them at least. They really believe that their actions are for the greater good. I mean: freedom for the poor souls trapped in the hell. That's a really good motivation if you think about it. And they have a aasimar leading. So it is quite understandable that so many good people are joining her. Caelal, because of her secret motivation, does not care about who join her army: goblonids, evil people and whatnot, the important thing for her are the numbers. On this matter, she is also manipulated by Hepheeran.

    You are correct.
    But for some reason the writers decided to have a "crusade" with an arguably reasonable/good cause be portrayed or act like an invading army...........but only sometimes.

    Caelar Argent has no reason to behave like ISIS because she is not seeking to take over territory or convert people. She wants followers and forcing an unwilling amount of people to fight for a cause is a sure fire way to end up in a mess. Resources would have to be diverted to simply keep those unwilling under control.

    It might work if you occupied the territory?
    Took over the towns/resources, stationed troops to keep control and established the position that you/family starve unless you fight?
    But that's not portrayed.

    And when you go to one camp, (and it's a camp, not an occupied town with a subjugated population slaving to keep the troops supplied) the guards are quite civil, tell you to undertake a quest to prove your dedication to the crusade, no aggro, no "convert or die".

    Also, if you take Edwin, he tells you that four red wizards join for the money offered. Two convert to the cause, one refuses and is killed, he pretends and bows down and makes his escape when he can (gotta love Edwin).

    Also there are pamphlets offering good money to anybody who joins.
    How does that work alonside the idea that you are enslaving people to fight for the crusade?
    And if you are not enslaving them, why are you destroying resource creating societies on the way through?

    None of it makes any sense.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,142
    I never picked up on anything implying people are being forced to join. Can you remember any specific examples? There is Edwin of course (I never use him). any others?
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,324
    ThacoBell said:

    I never picked up on anything implying people are being forced to join. Can you remember any specific examples? There is Edwin of course (I never use him). any others?

    I don't think people are being forced to join either.

    But then why destroy people's homes/livelihoods ect.?

    My point is the lack of coherence about actually what this "crusade" is doing. Yes there would be refugees pouring into BG if all food/crops/livestock had been taken by the crusade forces.
    But then why the destruction?
    Why the killing that's mentioned?
    Why is the first building you see outside BG a burnt out inn?
    Why are the bridges blocked?

    They want followers yes?
    So way to go to persuade people you are on the side of the righteous, Caelar Argent really needs to get her PR campaign sorted out.

    Maybe I've missed something.
    What's the opposing force the "crusade" has had to fight against to continue?
    It's a "crusade" to rescue damned souls, people rally to the cause. Some would join to wash away past sins, some would join for the money, some would join because they believed in the cause.
    So it would pass through and that would be it surely?
    The goal is Dragonspear, not BG, not conquering the Sword Coast.
    Even the baddie is not interested in that at this point in time.
    IllustairThacoBell
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,431


    Maybe I've missed something.
    What's the opposing force the "crusade" has had to fight against to continue?
    It's a "crusade" to rescue damned souls, people rally to the cause. Some would join to wash away past sins, some would join for the money, some would join because they believed in the cause.
    So it would pass through and that would be it surely?
    The goal is Dragonspear, not BG, not conquering the Sword Coast.
    Even the baddie is not interested in that at this point in time.

    I agree to this. I don't understand why the crusade would go about attacking everything in it's path when it's said the crusade has a specific purpose and target; which of course is the dragonspear castle. Sure, it can be difficult to manage a swelling army of different races, classes etc, but still, why does it wage war against other city states?

    Again, this might be explained somewhere deep in the lore, in books, etc but I never understood it at least.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,142
    @UnderstandMouseMagic I see your point. Maybe some of the mercenaries that joined specifically for the gold offered are more unruly and causing unecessary damage? Hmmm, but one of the side quests in dragonspear fort implies that plundering every settlement they pass is part of the marching orders. If Caelar is simply single minded in her venture, she may be unconcerned with the details of supplying her army, forcing the more practical officers to take matters into their own hands. But then why would people willingly flock to her? That's a question posed in game, but I don't think its ever answered. I wonder if a member of the writing team could shed some insight? Maybe @AndrewFoley ?
  • BigfishBigfish Member Posts: 366
    Skatan said:


    Maybe I've missed something.
    What's the opposing force the "crusade" has had to fight against to continue?
    It's a "crusade" to rescue damned souls, people rally to the cause. Some would join to wash away past sins, some would join for the money, some would join because they believed in the cause.
    So it would pass through and that would be it surely?
    The goal is Dragonspear, not BG, not conquering the Sword Coast.
    Even the baddie is not interested in that at this point in time.

    I agree to this. I don't understand why the crusade would go about attacking everything in it's path when it's said the crusade has a specific purpose and target; which of course is the dragonspear castle. Sure, it can be difficult to manage a swelling army of different races, classes etc, but still, why does it wage war against other city states?

    Again, this might be explained somewhere deep in the lore, in books, etc but I never understood it at least.
    They're not really waging war so much as seizing resources, which is funneling refugees in to cities and messing up commerce since farmers are having all their crops and livestock seized, which means they're not going to make it to market at the city later, causing a famine and increasing crime as the starving refugees start rioting. It destabilizes both the rural and urban areas, which is why the local governments with an army decide to put a stop to all that.
    ThacoBellAndrewFoley
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,324
    @Bigfish

    "They're not really waging war so much as seizing resources, which is funneling refugees in to cities and messing up commerce since farmers are having all their crops and livestock seized, which means they're not going to make it to market at the city later, causing a famine and increasing crime as the starving refugees start rioting. It destabilizes both the rural and urban areas, which is why the local governments with an army decide to put a stop to all that. "

    I get that.

    But why blow up bridges?
    Why burn buildings and kill people?
    (and it does say it is the crusaders doing this)
    Why kill volunteers/mercenaries when they offer their services but won't join in the religious stuff after you have advertised for them?
    You hear soldiers(?) in BG talking about the money being offered if they serve, you find the pamphlets.

    What's portrayed is an invading army whose aim is conquest/occupation
    What the story says is that this is a crusade, and in fact a crusade that has some support and a clear objective.
    And then it shows CA writing letters of condolance?

    This is what it says on the pamphlet.

    "Earn gold with your blade. Every coin you earn is food in the mouth of your family. Every enemy you slay secures your rank in the crusade.
    Caelar's crusade marches in the north, Shall you join them?
    Arm yourself and earn your first tendays pay while supporting the cause of right.

    See a recruitment officer and start earning coin today"


    Snappy huh?


    I think @Vithar said it best,

    "I think , the writers should 1st learn what the word ''Crusade'' means , then use it."

    VitharThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,324
    @Nightingale

    Good post, good explaination.

    Though I think you are being a little bit too forgiving of CA. If she's actually killing those who come for the money advertised, in cold blood, she's a monster, a tyrant.
    Let alone allowing unconnected innocents to be trampled as an aside because she has no control of the troops she has gathered.

    There's "highly flawed" and then there's "murderous psychopath".
    I would have liked to see her face that truth rather than become "the victim" .

«134
Sign In or Register to comment.